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Posts Tagged ‘banking in australia’

Thursday, April 25th, 2019

OzTREKK Ambassadors: Transferring your money

In part one of my banking and finances blog, I talked about banking in Australia. Here, I’d like to chat about transferring your money!

transferring your money

Consider using a money transfer app

My first little bit of advice would be before you even arrive in Australia, go to a foreign exchange place and take out probably $500–$600 for the first couple weeks you are in Australia just to get settled in. Once you have the bank account set up and are actually in Australia, then you can think about transferring some money over.

Don’t use your bank to transfer funds

Do not use your bank when transferring money to Australia. Why? First, you will pay their exchange rate from CAD to AUD, which is outrageous and close to 3–4 cents on the dollar, worse than what you get with other transfer companies. Second, it will take weeks for your money to come in, and sometimes it doesn’t even come in full installments. Third, they will also change you an extra amount to deposit it into your account along with a bunch of other fees—just awful altogether.

The way that I transfer my money is through a third-party app called “TransferWise.” Now, this app only lets you transfer amounts of up to $9,500 at one time and $25k per week. I don’t see why you would need any more than that so this app is perfect. Unless of course you want to transfer all of your money at once (which I would highly suggest against), then you would have to go the direct wire transfer through a bank.

The TransferWise app is very easy to use. All you do is register for an account. They ask for two-factor identification as well as a bank statement or rent cheque to make sure you are a Canadian citizen living there before coming to Australia. Then once your account is verified, it is easy to go on and see what they are offering for rates. As an example, $9,500 CAD got me $10,041.85 AUD.

Keep an eye on the exchange rate

When you are using this app it will always tell you the current rate that you are getting and the rates will vary each minute. So, in saying that, please be careful and make sure you check the forecast before changing money over. Wait until the dollar is on a rise before transferring your money over. Because I was watching the rates, I made more than $400 on the exact same dollar amount transfer than a friend did—just by waiting a day and a half! This may seem small to you, but over the course of a two-year program (or longer) and transferring money over in small amounts, you could net a total of an extra $10k based on current standards, which would really help! I would also suggest to download a Forex (foreign exchange) currency converter that converts currencies in real time just to keep up to date.

That is the major basics of finances for Australia and if you have any questions at all about physiotherapy, finances, UQ, and Brisbane life don’t be afraid to DM me on my Instagram! I will be uploading weekly content and be following the top professionals in my field come this mid-semester break so stay tuned!

Anthony C, first-year UQ physiotherapy student

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Find out more about Anthony! Read part one of his “money” blog OzTREKK Ambassadors: Banking in Australia, or follow all our ambassadors’ stories!

Would you like to be an OzTREKK Ambassador? Let us know! Please contact us at social@oztrekk.com and share your stories!

Thursday, April 11th, 2019

OzTREKK Ambassadors: Banking in Australia

I feel like I can speak for the entire population of international students when I say that this is a very big financial decision that you are making to study abroad.

Don’t be taken aback by the fact that you are going to be looking at paying six figures for your education, but instead look at this as an investment for your dream job that you will have for the rest of your life.

Now, with all of that being said, let’s talk finances and banking in Australia.

study physiotherapy in Australia

When in Australia, don’t forget to explore! Hanging out in Hosier Lane, Melbourne.

Banking

Australia has four major banks: Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), Westpac Banking Corporation, National Australia Bank (NAB), and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ).

The bank I chose is Commonwealth Bank of Australia because from the upper-year students NAB was not the greatest for customers service; ANZ was a little less common so it was harder to deal with; and then Westpac had kept a hold on some of the students’ wire transfers for tuition (which charged them extra money for late fees).

I will talk about money transfers and all of that in my next blog, but for now, let’s stick with banking.

1. Get a Student Card and a Cell Phone

First thing you need to do is when you become a University of Queensland student is receive your student card and also get a cell phone number. You will need this in order to set up your Commonwealth bank account.

2. Set Up Your Banking

Once you have those two pieces of information (including your Australia address, which can change after), you just need to walk into a Commonwealth bank and talk to a specialist there.

3. Get a Travel Money Card (if you want!)

Third, this is by no means a necessity, but if you want, CommBank offers something called “Travel Money Card.”  This is a free feature (when you apply online) and it is great for someone who either buys a lot of things online or travels. The card is good up until three years after you order it and it holds up to 13 currencies on the card at once. You just pay the conversion fee from Forex trading rate and it changes on your card automatically. I got this card because I frequently travel and it just takes out all the hassle from paying your own bank fees for international conversions each time.

Let’s say you travel to the states, with this card if you have $100 USD on the card, it acts as an American credit card (valued at $100). Then when you buy things there aren’t any extra accumulated fees associated with your purchase.

Pretty cool, right? And this works for over 47 different currencies around the world! So even if you don’t think you will use this once you are in Australia, I think (if you travel) it would be a good thing to get a month or so before you leave. As long as you have some money in your Australian bank account, you can have an international credit card for travelling with no secondary bank fees!

Another cool aspect of the app is that all of their features are instantaneous. From daily purchases to sending friends money it all happens within seconds of each other (rather than a couple days for e-transfers back home).  It also works from bank to bank (you send it via SMS) to any contact in your phone! I have an apple watch (CommBank also offers Apple Pay) and every time I make a purchase I’m notified on my watch and cell phone; therefore, if any purchase is made that wasn’t from you (card is compromised), you will be notified the second it happens and where it happened.

The app itself also groups all of your spending based on groups for you to see how much you have spent on food, health, entertainment, groceries, rent etc., which helps to easily keep track of your budget (which I’m seriously hoping you have!).

Another cool thing about this app is it also shows you where the closest ATM is located (which comes in handy), although there is a CommBank full branch right on the UQ St Lucia campus—which is really convenient!

Anthony out.
@ac_mpt

First-year UQ physiotherapy student

Interested in Anthony’s blogs? Read his blog OzTREKK Ambassadors: Moving to Brisbane, or follow all of our ambassadors‘ stories! Would you like to be an OzTREKK Ambassador? Let us know! Please contact us at social@oztrekk.com and share your stories!

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

How to Get from Eh to Oz: Money

When you’re getting ready to study in Australia, it’s common to think of the major stuff like getting your student visa, arranging flights, and acquiring accommodation, but there are a few things that sometimes get missed. The “From Eh to Oz” team wants to help you ensure you can pay for your schooling and living and that you have a heads up about everything involved when studying internationally, including finances!

money

Predeparture prep: Let’s talk about money!

Today, we will discuss a few main points:

  • CIBC Contest
  • Cost of Living
  • Transferring Your Money
  • Loans
  • Banking in Australia
  • Tax File Number

CIBC and the Student Life Network Full Ride Contest

CIBC and the Student Life Network Full Ride Contest is open to all Canadians. You have an opportunity to win $35,000 for tuition. You simply need to get a new CIBC student bank account, credit card, or line of credit and join the Student Life Network to enter. You must complete this by December 31, 2018 to be eligible.

Cost of Living in Australia

The average international student in Australia spends about $390 AUD per week on living expenses, approximately $20,290 AUD per year. This figure really depends on the city in which you live, whether you live on campus, just off campus or in a less expensive suburb near your university, and how frugal or reckless you are with your cash! Check out the Cost of Living comparison tool to get a better idea.

Transferring Your Money

Throughout your studies, you are likely going to need to get money to Australia to pay your tuition fees and living expenses. In general, a wire transfer (called a telegraphic transfer in Australia) is the most effective way to do this. There are a few options of which you should be aware. Paying attention to rates can save you thousands of dollars (in some cases over ten thousand dollars) over the course of your full degree.

Over the last few years, OzTREKK has been a proud supporter of Cohort Go, an Australian company specializing in international student services. The company is incredibly responsive, and our students are treated well—as they should be! Cohort Go allows students to make tuition payments in their local currency and convert their AUD tuition fees at a significantly lower foreign exchange rate while eliminating extra international money transfer fees from the equation. We have found this is the cheapest way to pay your tuition and save as much as $15,000 over the course of your studies. You just need to make a local bank transfer and Cohort Go takes care of your payment from there.

OzTREKK isn’t any getting any referral rewards, we just really think this is one of the best solutions available for our students.

Loans

OzTREKK students usually use a combination of professional student lines of credit, Canadian student loans, and personal / family savings to fund their studies. Canadian students who study outside Canada are eligible for loans provided by the federal government through the Canada Student Loans Program, in addition to loans provided by their province of residence. Provincially, students from Ontario can received $10,000, while BC students can receive $20,000, and Alberta students can receive $30,000. Please note that these are approximate amounts and your student loan will be release after your program has commenced.

Banking in Australia

Many OzTREKK students recommend you open a bank account before you leave for Australia as securing accommodation is often much easier when you have an Australian bank account!

Some Australian banks allow international students open an account online from overseas up to three months before you arrive—and many OzTREKK students recommend doing this. When you arrive in Australia, the bank will require you to show proof of identification in person at a bank branch.

  1. Your letter from the bank after you’ve opened the account
  2. Your passport
  3. Your student ID or proof of enrollment
  4. Australian cell phone number if you have one

Australia’s major national banks include

OzTREKK also recommends that you have a Canadian credit card with a reasonable maximum limit to take with you to Australia. It is not the best option for exchanging money from CAD to AUD and paying for things in Australia, but it may be helpful for emergencies and when you first arrive in Australia while you are setting up an Australian bank account.

#OzTREKKTip: Find out which bank has a branch on your university campus!

Tax File Number (TFN)

When you apply for your Australian student visa, make sure that you write down your Transaction Reference Number TFN (also called Tax Identification Number TIN) at the end, and save and print copies of the forms and receipts. A TFN reduces the tax rate you need to pay, and is required if you plan to work in Australia and for lodging tax returns. International students who are enrolled in a course that is longer than 6 months are considered residents for tax purposes.

Organisations such as banks, financial institutions and employers are entitled to ask for your TFN. For more information about TFNs and to apply, go to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website.

It may be necessary for you to file a tax return with the Canadian government for the year(s) you were studying in Australia. Visit the Canada Revenue Agency for more information.

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Stay tuned for more OzTREKK Predeparture tips! Questions or concerns? Please let us know! Email us at info@oztrekk.com or call toll free at 1-866-698-7355.

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

Start your study-in-Australia countdown right

Moving to the other side of the planet can be stressful. You’re about to embark on one of the most exciting journeys of your life, and if you let stress get the better of you, it can lead to unnecessary anxiety and forgotten tasks.

Start your study-in-Australia countdown right

It’s not too early to start your pre-departure checklist

Now is the time to be confident and excited, and the best way to be that way is to know you’re prepared. Ease your mind by tackling the countdown as systematically as possible. Let’s go through a list of the things you should be considering before your departure!

Documents

Print out all your offer documents, proof of enrollment, etc. Consider printing copies of your resume, references from previous landlords, banking statements, copies of your driver’s licence, etc. as these will be required for your accommodation search, and possibly when you land in Australia. Make a list of all the documents you will need, make several copies (as required), and organise it all in a folder that you will put in your carry-on.

Cell phone

Unlock your phone while still in Canada and use someone else’s card in your phone to test it out.

Travel itinerary

Keep an eye on your flights as they could change and not notify you. Find out how early you need to be at the airport.

Money

Have you got your Australian bank account set up? If not, now is the time to get that organised. Most banks allow you to open an account from Canada, up to three months before you arrive. You’ll need access to money/cheques etc. when you’re searching for accommodation (if you’re going to be living in a private rental), and many real estate agents/landlords will not take cash.

Location, location, location

Where are you headed? We have three words: Google Street View! It’s a good idea to look at your campus and city maps. Check out the transit schedule and snoop around your university’s website; they have an “international” section with lots of helpful tips!

Pack

Organise your carry-on (documents folder!).

You may not need to start packing now, but at least consider the main items. Consider what type of clothing you’ll need. Summer only? Winter? Believe it or not, Melbourne can get quite chilly during their winter months, June, July and August. It’s a good idea to take your fall items at minimum. Even Sydney, Gold Coast, and Brisbane has cold nights in winter. Start your packing list and get tips from YouTube regarding the best way to pack—you’ll get a lot of ideas! It’s also a good idea to include a backpack/duffel for when you travel in Australia.

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Hopefully this list will help you feel more settled and relaxed during this pre-departure phase! If you have concerns, please reach out to your OzTREKK Admissions Officer! Do you have any pre-departure tips? Send them our way: info@oztrekk.com.